High Court May Permit Redevelopment in 6 Delhi Colonies if Approvals Granted
The Environment Ministry and NBCC told the bench that they have made several changes to the project to ensure the number of trees to be felled and water consumption in the area are reduced.
File photo of Delhi High Court (Picture courtesy: Getty Images)
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday appeared inclined to permit re-development of six south Delhi colonies, including Sarojini Nagar and Nauroji Nagar if the project gets all the requisite approvals as per law.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao said it will pass orders clarifying what the Centre and the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), which is carrying out part of the work, would have to do.
After the matter was over, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Environment Ministry, said the project can go on once it receives all the approvals, including forest clearance, as required under the law.
Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for residents of the areas in question who are opposing the project since it would lead to felling of several hundreds of trees, said since the central government has revised the project, therefore, it will need to get fresh forest and environment clearances for the six colonies.
The court reserved its order after hearing arguments on behalf of all stakeholders, including the ministry, residents of the area and NBCC, regarding the six colonies of Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagaraja Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Mohammadpur and Srinivaspuri.
It said it will separately consider the redevelopment of the seventh colony—Nauroji Nagar—on a later date.
The Environment Ministry and NBCC told the bench that they have made several changes to the project to ensure the number of trees to be felled and water consumption in the area are reduced. Apart from that, road infrastructure would be "augmented" to accommodate the increase in vehicular traffic, they added.
The ministry in its affidavit, filed through central government standing counsel Ripudaman Singh Bhardwaj, said it has reduced the proposed number of dwelling units in the project area by 739 to reduce the felling of trees.
Under the re-worked plan, now there will be 24,928 dwelling units in the area, it said adding that changes have been made in the layout plan, architectural designs and parking spaces to bring down the number of trees to be felled.
Subsequent to the change in plan, now only around 7,000 trees would be affected by the project as against over 13,000 under the earlier design, the affidavit said and added that it might be possible to translocate most of the affected trees.
The ministry and NBCC have also said redevelopment of the area would lead to conservation of water as
this resource was being wasted in huge quantities presently due to poor and inefficient plumbing systems there.
The court was hearing PILs challenging the terms of reference (ToR) and the environmental clearances granted to the housing projects at seven colonies—Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagaraja Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Mohammadpur and Srinivaspuri—claiming that it would result in the felling of around 16,500 trees.
Over 2,000 trees have already been felled in Nauroji Nagar where the NBCC plans to build a commercial hub which will include a World Trade Centre.
The bench had on August 30 directed that status quo be maintained regarding the project till the Centre reconsiders the environment clearances given to the work in the six colonies, after the court was told that the clearance was granted on the basis of an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report that had "copy-pasted" its contents from another project report in Tamil Nadu.
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